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Back to Editorials Home www.airyourview.com/AttitudeTowardsCyclists Email Editorial Address:
Created by: MrCommuter

Changing the attitude towards cyclists?



Introduction

Pretty much everyone in the UK has heard of or endorse the anti-cyclist rants about how cyclists jump lights and have no respect for the rules. But it has become very much a one-sided argument, and since many vehicle drivers hardly abide by the rules themselves, and also considering other variables are rarely taken into consideration, the question is "has true perspective really been exercised?" the answer to which is a resounding NO!
[CONTENT CENSORED BY ADMIN]

Article Content
Main Pic

Perspective... The very thing that most human beings ignore while pushing their own personal and self-righteous opinions. Time and time again you hear the following arguments:
Cyclists jump lights
Cyclists ride on pavements
Cyclists ride the wrong way down streets
Cyclists ride at night without lights
Cyclists go up the inside of vehicles
Cyclists should be licensed
Cyclists should pay road tax

The above arguments are simply rants the common cyclist have to tolerate every day from self-righteous vehicle drivers who simply don't have any idea of the bigger picture.

You will often hear someone refer to a tragic instance and use it to justify a generalized hatred towards cyclists. But things are never this black and white.

Cyclists could easily use the following arguments:
Drivers speed
Drivers use their mobile phones
Drivers tailgate
Drivers are impatient and refuse to wait a few seconds if they don't have to
Drivers don't indicate

The difference is, drivers are behind the wheel of something weighing between 12 and 350 times the weight of the average cyclist, and many times the speed amplified by the speed to weight ratio. Which one of the two (cyclists or powered vehicles) are more likely to kill a pedestrian who steps out in front of them?

This article is not about statistics


As per the section title, although a couple of references will be made, the point of this article is to try to educate people with some perspective instead of continuing to allow everyone to look at things from their own selfish perspectives.

A vehicle driver that never breaks the rules and drives with every element of care is still far more likely to kill or maim someone than a cyclist is. The problem is, most people try to allocate blame, so what about pedestrian who jump lights (and there's many more than cyclists)?

If God forbid I ever hit a pedestrian who steps out in front of me, I can feel some comfort in that it will be better for them if I am on my bike travelling at 10-15 mph than someone in a car doing 30-40. But unfortunately for the pedestrian, very few people ever look at it in this light. And before anyone jumps to another unfounded conclusion, cyclists are indeed quieter than most vehicles, but in a busy noisy city, that won't make a lot of difference.

Let's break down some of the usual rants...



Cyclists:

Cyclist jumping lights...
Yep... It happens. Unfortunately for the more polite cyclists, it's become a default argument that doesn't hold as much water as drivers like to claim:
I agree with many cyclists who want to get the 5-second head-start, but I totally disagree with the [EDITED BY ADMIN] that race through lights skimming pedestrians etc because they simply don't want to stop.
I think the government should adopt some other countries approach and give cyclists a head start at lights. And then totally clamp down on those that don't even bother to stop. At least then, most drivers will lose their default arguments. The truth is, cyclists can get away with it and vehicle drivers cannot! Now that's the real bugbear for most drivers isn't it?

Cyclists riding on pavements
I have done it, but only on occasions where the roads are truly lethal or a shared path has ended and was not clearly signed so. And even if the path is shared between pedestrians, I always give way. But because some cyclists don't, non-cyclists will collectively categories me regardless.

Cyclists ride the wrong way down streets
Yep, and they are [EDITED BY ADMIN]!!! However, some one way streets do accommodate bidirectionality for cyclists. I wonder how many drivers know this??? Personally, I don't do it, but again many drivers will brand me accordingly.

Cyclists ride at night without lights
Yes some of them do, and they are complete [EDITED BY ADMIN] who give the rest of us a bad name. However, it is very interesting that car drivers spot cyclists with no lights, yet when they knock someone off who is well-lit and abiding by the rules, the drivers use the excuse "I didn't see them"!!!

Cyclists should be licensed
Why? What difference will it make? This is simply a reflection of drivers having a bee in their bonnet because they have to be licensed to drive a vehicle. Besides, it doesn't stop drivers breaking all the rules in their metal beasts, so what difference will it make?

Cyclists go up the inside of vehicles
Yes they do, AND IT IS PERFECTLY LEGAL. But cycling individuals should take into consideration that not all [EDITED BY ADMIN] look in their mirrors before they turn left. Individual cyclists should also not do it on the inside of long (especially articulated) vehicles when indicating to turn left. The problem is, many drivers don't indicate until they move off, but still blame the cyclists!

Cyclists should pay road tax
Oh come on!!! If you still don't know the answer to this, you hopelessly demonstrate why people have such limited knowledge of what's really going on on the roads.
For more info, read this:
http://www.airyourview.com/Editorials/Ed001496D00016500.aspx

Cars:

Drivers speed
The vast majority do. And this isn't just about speed limits, it's about speed versus conditions. This is by far the most likely killer on British roads especially in cities. But as always, conveniently ignored by anti-cyclist protesters.

Drivers use their mobile phones
Yep, and so do cyclists (I hear you cry). But if you still haven't fathomed out the difference between a 90kg cyclist doing 10-15 mph compared to a speeding 1.5-35 ton while holding a phone, then you don't have enough sense to use the roads at all!!!

Drivers tailgate
Combined with speed (the two of which go hand-in-hand) this is bar far the greatest danger on our roads. And because of the speed prerequisite, cyclists will rarely be able to do it unless in slow traffic. Even worse, some vehicle drivers tailgate cyclists like big bullies to intimidate them!

Drivers are impatient and refuse to wait a few seconds if they don't have to
So very very true!!! Time and time again, vehicles squeeze by with only inches to spare because they are too impatient to wait. Or vehicles overtake without allowing enough time and then cut cyclists up as they pull back in before being clear of the cyclists. This frequently puts cyclist's lives in danger, simply because the drivers are to impatient to wait a few more seconds.

Drivers don't indicate
Nor do cyclists. But for a vehicle driver or motorcyclist, they simply flick a switch (even though they often can't be bothered). For a cyclist, it means taking one hand off the handle bars, while braking with the other, while avoiding drains sunk as much as 2 inches into the ground. But only self-righteous vehicle drivers would be oblivious to this.
Either way, a vehicle is still many times the weight and probably doing many times the speed. So do the math!

The bottom line...


The bottom line is that many car drivers have become so institutionalized, self-righteous and impatient that they have forgotten to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

No single form of transport has more rights, but maybe that should change? And NOT in the favor of vehicle drivers. We should seriously be thinking of how it is done on the continent where cyclists take a much higher priority.

Maybe (and this is being forwarded to government by lobbyists) cyclists should always have priority by default. Then maybe lazy [EDITED BY ADMIN] behind the wheels of killing machines will be much less aggressive towards us.

On a planetary scale, gas-powered vehicles will desecrate and ultimately cause more death and destruction than an equal amount of cyclists ever will. I just wish people would stop thinking about themselves and look at the bigger picture!


End of Article

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